(Duplicate of Jataka #99) The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. As he lay dying, his disciples asked what his spiritual attainment was. He told them, “I have won nothing.” They thought he meant this literally, so he came down from heaven to tell them he meant he had attained insight into the nothingness of things, one of the highest attainments.
The Bodhisatta was once a tree fairy. He watched a man who doubted his daughter’s chastity test her by asking to have sex. She refused, so he believed that she was virtuous and he could marry her off without fear of shame.
The Bodhisatta was once a wealthy merchant. One day while returning home, he saw thieves on the road, so he sped up and did not get robbed.
(Duplicate of Jataka #439) The Bodhisatta was once Indra, king of the gods. A merchant who rejected religion and mistreated his mother sailed out to sea on a trading voyage. Soon after, he was set adrift on a raft for bringing bad luck to the ship. He spent time on several islands with blissful spirits, then he arrived in hell and had to carry a heavy razor wheel on his head. The Bodhisatta told him this was his punishment for a life of greed.
The Bodhisatta was once a tree fairy. An elephant being tortured as part of its training escaped to the Himalayas and lived in constant fear until the Bodhisatta told him he should get over it.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. After his wife died, he took his son and began a new religious life in the Himalayas. Many years later, a wicked woman came upon their home, and she seduced the son, convincing him to return to civilization with her. There she ordered him around so much that he returned to the forest.
The Bodhisatta was once a king’s advisor. The king’s chaplain was extremely talkative, so the king hired a man with excellent aim to shoot goat dung pellets down the chaplain’s throat. This finally got him to stop talking.
The Bodhisatta was once a king’s advisor. The king saw a fat, badly-dressed country woman stop to pee. Impressed by how quickly and modestly she did it, he made her his queen.
The Bodhisatta was once a tree fairy. A poor man felt ashamed for his humble offering of a rice husk-powder cake, but the Bodhisatta told him he appreciated all offerings. In return, the Bodhisatta told the man where to find buried treasure.
(Told in Jataka #546) The Bodhisatta was once a king’s advisor. At age seven, he judged a case of a stolen necklace by asking two women what fragrance they used on the necklace. The actual owner was the woman who knew the correct scent.
(Told in Jataka #546) The Bodhisatta was once a king’s advisor. At age seven, the Bodhisatta wisely explained to the king that fathers are not always better than their sons by comparing a regular donkey, worth very little, to a mule born to this donkey and a thoroughbred horse, which would be valuable.
(Told in Jataka #546) The Bodhisatta was once a king’s advisor. When he met the woman who he would later marry, she gave directions to her house in the form of a riddle and he solved it.
The Bodhisatta was once a tree fairy. One night a jackal snuck into the city to feast and passed out. In the morning he could not safely leave, so he hired a greedy brahmin to carry him out under his robe and then did not pay him the promised money. The Bodhisatta mocked the foolish brahmin.
The Bodhisatta was once a fish. Two of his fish friends got caught in a net, and the Bodhisatta freed them by tricking the fishermen.
The Bodhisatta was once a bird. One of the birds in his flock fed along a busy road and wanted to eat everything herself, so she told the other birds the road was dangerous. Later, she was run over by a carriage there, and the Bodhisatta told the others she died due to her greed.
The Bodhisatta was once an acrobat. One day his master teacher decided to do the five-javelin dance, even though he had never practiced it. The Bodhisatta warned him against it, but to no avail. He impaled himself and died.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. One of his companions was cutting wood, and another told him how to chop better. This angered him so much that he killed the meddling ascetic. After this, a hunter heard a bird singing and shot it. The Bodhisatta told his followers that both had died because they talked too much.
The Bodhisatta was once a quail. He and others were caught and taken to be fattened up for sale. But the Bodhisatta refused to eat and grew thin. When the man took him out of the cage to examine him, the Bodhisatta flew back to the forest.
The Bodhisatta was once a teacher. His school had a rooster that crowed at inappropriate times and disrupted the students, so they killed it.
The Bodhisatta was once a king’s chaplain. The queen tried to seduce him, but he refused, and in anger she got the king to order his execution. But when he told the king what really happened, he was spared and went to live as an ascetic.
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